Thursday, May 13, 2021

13-May-21: In one voice, Jordan's lawmakers say Israel's ambassador has to go

The Jordanian parliament in Amman [Image Source]
​Jordan and Israel have been at an uneasy kind of peace for some twenty-six years.
On 26 October 1994, Jordan and Israel signed the peace treaty in a ceremony held in the Arava valley of Israel, north of Eilat and near the Jordanian border. Prime Minister Rabin and Prime Minister Abdelsalam al-Majali signed the treaty and the President of Israel Ezer Weizman shook hands with King Hussein. Clinton observed, accompanied by US Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Thousands of colorful balloons released into the sky ended the event... Egypt welcomed the agreement while Syria ignored it. The Lebanese militia group Hezbollah resisted the treaty and 20 minutes prior to the ceremony launched mortar and rocket attacks against northern Galilee towns. Israeli residents, who were forced to evacuate the towns for the safety of shelters, took with them transistor radios and mobile TVs in order not to miss the historical moment of signing a second peace treaty with an Arab state... [Wikipedia]
1994: King Hussein and
Yitzhak Rabin [Source]
It hasn't been a smooth ride

And today, according to a Jordanian news report [here in Arabic] it took one of its frequent turns downwards:
Attia: The memorandum to expel the Zionist ambassador obtains unanimous consent of all representatives | May 13, 2021 | Representative Khalil Attiyah said that a parliamentary memorandum expressing the parliament’s standing behind King Abdullah II in his support for the Palestinian cause and affirming the Hashemite guardianship over Jerusalem, and also calling for the expulsion of the Zionist ambassador from the kingdom and the withdrawal of the Jordanian ambassador from the entity, obtained the consensus of all members of the House of Representatives. Representatives without exception, and everyone who received a copy of it took the initiative to sign it... Attiyah confirmed that what was published of the names was at the beginning of the adoption of the memorandum, and all members of the parliament initiated the request to include their names on the memorandum, pointing out that the memorandum will be handed over to the General Secretariat in the House of Representatives next Sunday to be dealt with in accordance with the constitutional frameworks. [Archive]
It's not without precedent. 

In fact, this is the fourth such maneuver by Jordan's lawmakers in the past eight years.
It's a reminder that, like so much else in the volatile and voluble Middle East, noisy and unanimous declarations by members of the legislative branch don't always mean that much. And also that lawmakers and laws don't mean all that much in the monarchies of our neighborhood.

UPDATE May 17, 2021: Reports today say the memorandum has now been upgraded to an actual motion. But not a law.

By AFP - Agence France Presse
May 17, 2021
Jordanian lawmakers on Monday unanimously carried a motion urging the government to expel Israel's ambassador to Amman in protest against Israeli "crimes" against Palestinians. Speaker of Parliament Abdul Monem Odat announced the move live on television after a parliamentary session devoted to "the situation in Palestine and the crimes committed against them in Jerusalem and Gaza".

During a six-hour long session, "the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador" was among the key recommendations carried, Odat said. Lawmakers also demanded the recall of Jordan's ambassador from Tel Aviv.

"We have sent a memorandum to the government to that effect and it is now with the prime minister," he added.

Prime Minister Bishr Khasawneh, who was present in parliament, said the government will examine all the options "and will rise to the challenge".

Independent MP Khalil Attiyeh told AFP that all parliament's 130 deputies had signed the memorandum... 

Jordan, which is bound by a peace treaty with neighbouring Israel agreed in 1994, has for days seen protests in solidarity with the Palestinians.

Demonstrators have demanded the Israeli ambassador's expulsion.

Around half of Jordan's 10 million-strong population is of Palestinian origin, including some 2.2 million refugees registered with the United Nations.

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